As one lothario’s time in Sydney comes to an end, another moves in. The Sydney Theatre company’s production of the Brecht/Weill Threepenny Opera closed over the weekend as Opera Australia’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni opened.
In many ways the two men, Macheath and Don Giovanni are similar. Murderers, rapists and, unscrupulous seducers whose evil is made possible by the support of intimidated sycophants – a coterie in the case of Macheath, and the hapless bumbling Leporello in the case of Don Giovanni.
The elements surrounding these characters however, are vastly different. Macheath represents an amorality where society is corrupt to the core. In Don Giovanni, it is only the protagonist who is immoral against a righteous society. The pure and selfless love that Zerlina and Masetto have for each other is absent from Macheath’s circle. It doesn’t exist between the Peachums. Even the seemingly pure-as-driven-snow Polly Peachum reveals her dark side in the Barbara Song.
Finally whilst Macheath escapes the noose and all is forgiven, the Don is condemned to the flames as those around him dust themselves of his memory.
This 1991 Goran Jarvefeldt production of Don Giovanni boasts a stellar cast. As the Don, Teddy Tahu Rhodes has never performed better. He has grown into the role over the years and wears it even better than the black leather get up that never fails to draw gasps from the audience. His voice has new depth, power and maturity – he played the final act with convincing abandon and an utterly depraved descent into purgatory.
Conal Coad was perfectly cast as Leporello and Rachelle Durkin (Donna Anna) was as always, a thrill to see and hear. Young Artiste Andrew Jones (Masetto), Taryn Fiebig (Zerlina), Jacqueline Dark (Donna Elvira) and Daniel Sumegi (Il Commendatore) completed a thrilling ensemble. Henry Choo (Don Ottavio) deserves a special mention for his beauty of tone and line, underscoring the tenderness of his feelings for Donna Anna.
Don Giovanni is at the Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House, till November 5th.